Xfire system projects a bike lane onto the road
By Ben Coxworth
September 25, 2012
A lot of people won’t ride a bicycle on city streets because they’re scared that a vehicle will run into them. This fear certainly isn’t helped by the many drivers who unknowingly get dangerously close to cyclists while driving alongside them. Xfire’s Bike Lane Safety Light is designed to address that problem by using lasers to project a virtual bike lane on the road around the bike.
Powered by two AAA batteries, the device uses dual 5-milliwatt red lasers to project two lines onto the asphalt, extending back from either side of the bike. While those lines don’t do anything to physically protect the cyclist, they do provide motorists with an attention-getting visual guide as to how much distance they should be keeping. The device also serves as a standard tail light, incorporating five “extremely bright” red LEDs.
True, some people just won’t care about lines on the road, but in many cases drivers simply don’t realize how much space a cyclist requires – this is a way of letting them know, not unlike those side-extending safety flags that some riders use.
Given that all of the supplied photos show the device at use in the dark, it would be good to know how much the projected lines show up in the daylight, when most people are actually out cycling. For what it’s worth, the company website does mention that they are visible under headlights and streetlights.
The folks at Xfire aren’t the first to think of this idea, incidentally. Designers Alex Tee and Evan Gant came up with a very similar concept in 2009, which seems to now be commercially available as the Laser Lite Lane. British design student Emily Brooke, on the other hand, built a one-off device that projects a symbol onto the pavement in front of the cyclist, to let drivers know that a bicycle is approaching from the rear.
The Bike Lane Safety Light is available for order now, and is priced at US$39.99. It can be seen in use in the video below.